MLB unders went a blistering 11-3-1 on Sunday, running their record to an impressive 118-103-7 (53.4%) to start the season. When the total is 8.5 or higher, the under is 71-54-2 (56.8%). Interestingly, the best "under" spot this season has been when the total rises at least a half run (think 9 to 9.5). Buying low on these "inflated" unders has resulted in a gaudy 21-8-1 (72.4%) record this season. Taking unders is often the smart contrarian play due to the overwhelming public bias toward overs. Casual bettors want to root for a fun, high-scoring game filled with hits and home runs. But the oddsmakers know this public tendency and will shade and inflate numbers to the over, creating value to go the other way and sweat unpopular unders.
Now we turn our attention to Monday, where a new week begins with 7 MLB games, 9 NBA games and 8 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of Monday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 1 p.m. ET. I'll also be joining Michael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher on The Lombardi Line at 1:30 p.m. ET to offer a market update.
In the meantime, let's discuss a trio of MLB games today receiving notable sharp action...
11:10 a.m. ET: Chicago White Sox (8-8) at Boston Red Sox (10-6)
Don't sleep in too late or you'll miss first pitch as this marks the annual Marathon Monday game in Boston. This is the fourth and final game of the series. The Red Sox won the opener 7-4 and then the White Sox swept both games of Sunday's doubleheader 3-2 and 5-1. Today the White Sox start ace Lucas Giolito (1-0, 2.55 ERA) while the Red Sox counter with veteran righty Nathan Eovaldi (2-1, 2.08 ERA). This line opened with Chicago listed as a slight -110 road favorite and Boston a + 100 home dog. The public is undecided but sharps have sided with the White Sox, pushing Chicago up from -110 to -115. Some shops are inching closer to -120. Chicago has value as a favorite with a low total (8). Historically, low totals have benefited favorites as the fewer amount of expected runs scored makes it more likely that they come from the "better" team.
7:05 p.m. ET: St. Louis Cardinals (7-8) at Washington Nationals (5-8)
Both of these non-division opponents have struggled to start the season, including going 4-6 over their last ten games. The Cardinals just dropped two of three against the Phillies while the Nats split a four-game set against the Diamondbacks. In tonight's series opener, St. Louis gives the ball to young ace Jack Flaherty (2-0, 4.11 ERA) while the Nats send out veteran righty Joe Ross (1-0, 0.00 ERA). This line opened at a true pick'em with both sides listed at -105. Sharps have jumped on the Cardinals with their ace on the hall, pushing St. Louis from -105 to -115, with some books flirting with -120. Teams with 10-cents or more of steam in their favor in non-division games are 29-21 (58%) on the season. The Nats are 3-4 at home this season. The Cardinals are 5-4 on the road. The Nats are -15 in run differential. The Cardinals are -7.
10:10 p.m. ET: Milwaukee Brewers (8-7) at San Diego Padres (10-7)
Both of these teams enter with above .500 records and have gone 6-4 in their last ten game. However, both are looking to bounce back from series losses, as the Brewers just dropped two of three to the Pirates and the Padres just lost two of three to the Dodgers. In tonight's series opener, the Brewers start Brandon Woodruff (0-0, 2.12 ERA) while the Padres trot out Joe Musgrove (2-1, 0.47 ERA), who threw MLB's first no-hitter two starts ago. This line opened with San Diego listed as a -130 home favorite. Wiseguys have rushed to the window to lay the chalk with the Padres, which has pushed the line up to -140. San Diego has value as a team with 10-cents or more steam in their favor in a non-division game (29-21, 58% this season). We could also be looking at a lower scoring game in this one. The total opened at a low 7 with heavy over juice (-120). But now the juice is down to -110 and some shops are even juicing up the under (-115). Both teams have been profitable to the under this season, with San Diego 11-6 and Milwaukee 8-6-1. The Padres' underlying metrics are superior to the Brewers in both batting average (.244 vs .209) and ERA (2.50 vs 3.04).